I went through a whole slew of things I wanted to be; attorney, doctor, nurse, teacher, Donnie Wahlberg’s wifey/baby momma (without the drama)…and who didn’t want to be a superstar?
Do you have kids or pets?
I have two sons and a daughter, and they keep me on my toes. None of them belong to Donnie Wahlberg though.
Where/When do you best like to write? What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t have a particular time to write; any free time I can get is devoted to writing. Interesting writing quirk…I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I don’t use an outline. I just watch the scenes unfold in my head and do my best to translate it onto paper. When I’m done for the day, I hit the pause button and resume it later. However, there are times that scenes pop into my head while I’m trying to fall asleep or am in the shower, and then I have to get up/out and jot down notes for specific lines and whatnot.
When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?
When I’m struggling, nothing is a sure-fire remedy, but I've been given some really great advice from some awesome authors. Sometimes I try to change the point of view (Cherry Adair), or maybe the reason I'm having a block is that something isn't right in the story and I have to figure out what that is before I can move on (Darynda Jones). Or, my psychic friend told me that when this happens, my muse has taken a vacay because he/she feels I need one; I'm so invested in what I'm writing that I'm forgetting to live. So, I have to just step away from it until the scene reappears. Bottom line: If the characters won’t talk, they won’t talk. And there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m completely at their mercy.
What do you think makes a good story?
A good story is one that makes me feel what the character is feeling. It needs to run a gamut of emotions. I want it to make me laugh, make me cry, make me angry…and make me lust. And I’m not a fan of filler chapters or useless information. I want a story that will suck me in and keep me turning the pages.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
That’s like asking what came first, the chicken or the egg? I think the two go hand in hand. Most of the time, the idea for the novel is what determines my characters' stories.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How quickly one can write a book when they’re passionate enough about it. I just hope that passion comes through in the writing. Also, no matter how many times you read and re-read, you’re never going to think what you’ve written is perfect.
What was your greatest challenge in writing?
Time management. I wanted to write all the time, and I’m afraid I may have neglected my family in the process. It was an obsession, and I had to learn that balance. Luckily, my family has been very understanding. They’ve sacrificed so that I can live my dream. I’m very fortunate for that.
On a Friday night, what are you most likely to be doing?
Funny. I’d be writing. Every spare second, I’m writing. Like I said, it’s an obsession.
Who are some of your favorite authors? If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Wow! I have lots of favorite authors. Darynda Jones, Olivia Cunning, HP Mallory, Jeaniene Frost, Karen Marie Moning, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kresley Cole, and the list goes on and on.
JR Ward is somewhere at the top of my list. I met the WARDen at a book signing, and quickly learned that she talks and acts just like she writes, which was encouraging to me because I do the same. And the funny thing was that she described the writing process the same way I always do; you watch it play out like a movie in your head, and do your best to translate it to written word. I was surprisingly shocked by that.
But my very incredible mentor is Darynda Jones, author of the Charley Davidson series. Not only is she one hell of an author, but she's also the sweetest, kindest person I know, and she thinks she isn't funny even though she really is. Also, her brain tastes like strawberries, and yes, I know this firsthand.
Now that you have published a book, what the next goal in life you want to accomplish?
I’m supposed to have other goals? Hmm…well, I’ve heard that to be successful in life, you have to take the thing that you love to do, and find a way to make money doing it. I love to write, so I guess I’d like to write a New York Times best seller, something that will pay me enough to be able to stay at home and do nothing but that all day. (And my feelings wouldn’t be hurt if I could see something I created on the silver screen one day, too.)
What person or person(s) has/have helped you the most in your career?
This is a hard one. My mother has always been very motivational, but my sister, Jessica, has been the one to push me to write. I owe her a great deal of thanks. All of my pre-readers have offered a lot of super critiques. Lauren Schmelz, my fabulous editor, has really been there for me through the learning process of putting the words to print, and she ALWAYS has my back. It’s a collaborative effort, and I can’t narrow it down to just one or even a couple of people.
What's the best piece of advice you ever had on writing?
Show, don’t tell. It’s really easy to tell a story, but showing it so that you reader sees what you see, feels what your character feels...that’s a whole different experience. I can only hope I do that well enough.
How do your friends/family feel about your writing career?
My mom, God love her, says I’m going to be her retirement. And isn’t that just a very mom-like thing to say?
My friends and family are probably just as excited as I am. I’m a little more grounded than everyone around me, though. I know it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance, and I’m not going to turn into a superstar and get rich from writing. But that doesn’t change the fact that I love to do what I do.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Absolutely. Readers, your support and encouragement keep me doing what I love to do. I hope that I can continue to produce stories you love to read, and if they have touched even one person in a positive way, I’ll consider that a job well done.